Protocol Consultants International
- greet guests at the door. Offer to take coats or, coach children (as junior hosts) to do so (great life training!)
- provide guests' initial refreshment. Thereafter, tell them to help themselves.
- have a designated area for coats and purses.
- consider a designated play area and even a children's dining table. Have high and low-tech toys and games available.
- facilitate conversation. Provide introductions, monitor alcohol consumption, music, replenishing food, etc.
- have a scented candle burning in restrooms; light table candles and others as you deem appropriate.
- have ice, soda, water, mixers, coasters and festive cocktail napkins out.
- flowers are festive, as well as a great hostess gift.
- Grace and an optional informal toast should be offered at the beginning of the feast.
- No one should begin eating until everyone is seated and served.
- host signals when to begin by picking up their utensils and saying something like "Happy Thanksgiving!" "Enjoy!" Bon appetite!; be inclusive
- make eye-contact with everyone at your table.
- children can help (learn how to) set and clear the table;
- never arrive empty handed. Bring not only your signature dish (or whatever you were asked) but something for your host i.e. a candle, hand towels, egg nog, wine, flowers, etc.
- circulate and contribute. Resist the urge to hide in the kitchen or plant yourself in front of the T.V. although having the Macy's Day Parade/football game on is more than fine on Thanksgiving Day. Suggestion: have photos – new and very old, your wedding album or vacation photos out for viewing, cards or a game out to play is a good fallback.
- offer to help clean up. Thanksgiving is probably one of the few times hosts may graciously accept.
Our morals, values, beliefs and ethics are shaped at home and are in large part, attributed to the way we were brought up. Possessing a strong sense of Family (not necessarily referring to the traditional family, being a single parent myself) helps build confidence, provides a strong life foundation and also serves as a source of comfort during life's challenging times.
We live in a world today where multitasking and managing our time, people, home and career is commonplace; time is precious. This is a ringing call for a conscious return to an uncomplicated activity as old as "Old Man Time" himself: The Traditional Family Dinner Hour.
Note: "Family Time" vs."Dinner Time"
This call hails the notion that when we take the time to dine together, as a family, we experience a heightened level of comfort and security and, in turn, we are more confident and respectful… we interface with others more skillfully, invite conversation and welcome new people into our lives more freely. The Family Dinner Hour encourages bonding and connection as well as behaving well and being gracious… a great 'way to be!' It is here where lessons of life are learned … where parents will correct, and celebrate their children. "Family" is intrinsic in the fabric of our lives and while reinstating activity may seem simple, initiating this requires effort:
- Announce it: "We are having "Family Dinner" at every opportunity" (Night/time)
- Make the time. Urge family members to say, "No, I can't" to other invitations … and practice saying, "we are having a Family Dinner tonight."
- Make Family Dinner Hour fun and festive - a dining experience.
- Eat in an attractive place i.e. the dining room.
- Create a calm, civilized atmosphere i.e. play soft background music.
- Prepare a nutritious dinner.
- Use table linen and porcelain vs. paper plates/plastic utensils.
- Candles/tea lights.
- Ground rules: T.V. and cell phones: off(!); no in-fighting.
- Teach and practice good table manners … how to set a table, hold a fork and knife, etc.
- CONTRIBUTE to family discussions.
The Market Basket affair provides an iconic case study of how, when you show employees you care and treat employees with kindness and respect, you get respect, loyalty, allegiance.
Today, more than ever, INVEST time/energy in the special people in your lives. The dividends will be exponential!
- Don't share personal problems!
- Don't share information which reveals your weaknesses, particularly if you are in a management position or vying for a promotion requiring solid credentials, good judgment and people skills.
- Don't discuss your abusive husband, difficult divorce your depression issues.... bragging about your drunken binges, problems with your kids and financial woes are also taboo; turn to friends and family for support.
- Do listen to everything and verify information before passing it along
- Do pass along only true information that won't hurt others
- Do use the grapevine to take positive action or make decisions. You can start posturing for the position you heard will open soon or looking for another job because you understand the company is being sold.
- As soon as you reach your destination: cell phones and pagers: Off! … And out of sight. Place in briefcase or purse.
- Mobile devices should not be part of the business luncheon place setting.
- In meetings, if the phone must be on display, turn to silent or vibrate mode.
- Check email and respond to texts after the meeting. Not doing so suggests that the speaker is unimportant. Perceptions are real; appear engaged/as a team player.
- Keep voice tones low and conversations short.
- Make sure ring tones are consistent with your professional message.
Lying has long been known as one of our less venerable characteristics to the extent where Moses deemed the habit "tablet worthy" and it landed spot #8 on the Ten Commandments.
Think about it: how many of us have called in sick to work when we weren't? (58% more common around major sporting events) … whether you are extending an insincere compliment or making an excuse to get out of going to lunch, telling lies is insidious.
Lying is incredibly common in business across the board - - Dodd-Frank was passed because there was so much lying on financial statements by CEOs.
Sad to say, some of the best leaders are liars. Think of Steve Jobs' (reality distortion) and Larry Ellison's proclivity to proclaim a product was available when it wasn't—("vaporware!")
Although lying occurs at the highest levels, there are consequences…some feel they will never get caught, but they do!
Bernie Madoff, Richard Nixon (lied to himself) "I am not a crook!" Bill Clinton, Elliott Spitzer, Mark Sanford and Arnold Schwarzenegger come to mind.
- a story repeated often enough becomes undistinguishable.
- we are great at self-deception!
- today, automated systems can track lies and cover-ups
- can compromise credibility, integrity, trust and damage relationships/reputations, kill careers.
- about small things begs the question, what else might you lie about?
Top reasons for lying:
- closing a deal
- appeasing customers
- covering up - mistakes/failed projects
- covering up - for another employee
- explaining tardiness and absence
- denying knowledge of an event/situation
- keeping the peace
- fearing consequences
Remember, when you lie, the lie not only needs to be believable, but proven and then remembered!
When you lie you invariably end up dancing. Therefore, be prepared to put on the dancing shoes because that’s what invariably happens.
Telling the truth may be harder in the beginning, but in the long run it is the right thing.
- requires less energy
- builds character.
- means you don’t have to worry about being caught (in a lie)
- you won’t have to tell more (cover up) lies
nor carry the burden of deception
It’s much harder to take an ethical stand and insist on honesty.
The bottom line: your reputation as an ethical person is central to professional success; word travels quickly.
Conversations are the source of energy that have the power to release transformational thoughts – (products and goods) into the world. Conversations are the golden threads that enable us to move forward and trust others. It is through conversation that we communicate and ultimately, connect. Conversation is integral to the health and productivity of a company culture.
Please read my review of Judith Glaser’s new book, Conversational Intelligence.
Sending a thank-you note is still relevant in the working world, especially in the interview.
Get more tips on How to Stand Apart @ Work in my article in Forbes.
We are pleased to announce our April newsletter in which we share timely tips on handshaking, as well thoughts on how to effectively use of humor to diffuse volatile situations. We also provide insights into the hot topic of Conversational Intelligence.
The philosopher in me has been called out.
Challenges are inherent in life. Some of life’s most triumphant moments are shaped in the face of adversity. While some believe challenges are a curse, Elizabeth Kubler Ross feels, "If you shield the mountain from the windstorms, you'll never see the beauty of the carvings."
Like the mountains, we all experience different stages of gradation; we shift and we change, and with each challenge lies opportunity to make choices which form our values, determine our character and shape our destiny. The windstorms of our lives serve as opportunities to enhance our confidence. Once we learn how to confidently navigate the shifting landscape, we can bravely traverse the challenging terrain.
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."
While we may live in the moment we must not lose sight of the fact that in order to be fully effective we need to be fully present in the moment with other people. The way we conduct ourselves every day, and the way we treat others is noticed and judged. In fact, others notice more when what we are doing is NOT right.
I recently saw the Calvalia performance of Odyesso in Boston. The show features among other things, 58 male horses including Lipizzon stallions, Apolossas, and more. There was one beautifully choreographed vignette where teams of three and four magnificent horses were parading in unison around the stage in a figure-eight, with women standing, - one foot on each horse - quite a feat! The symmetry and artistry were flawless and the riders were perfectly in sync. This scene was stately, majestic, captivating. However, through all of this pageantry, I noticed one horse off to the left who would not conform. One horse decided to lie down, put his head on the sand on stage and watch his comrade horses perform. Soon, all audience eyes were on the one horse who would not perform, who was not doing it right. Hence, during this masterful and magnificent scene, the audience was actually laughing! As it turns out, this was not an arbitrary act of fate but in fact, part of a well-thought out well-choreographed performance. Producers chose to capitalize on the fact that we all do notice when others don't do it right and played the audience to work right into this scene.
We can learn from this exploit! First Impressions are lasting. Remember, 'the world's a stage' and this is not the dress rehearsal. Shakespeare says, "You need to know the rules before you can play the game." The game is life and it's true, "you never get a second chance to make a great First Impression!"
Nuances matter and 'perception is reality!' It's still all about People! How we conduct ourselves form the first handshake and the first "hello" helps determine the depth and direction of a future relationship and personal rapport. Getting it right the first time cannot be over-stated. When we demonstrate more respect, listen more attentively, communicate more effectively we are more resilient and flexible in a world where others notice, - a positive reflection on us. Demonstrating respect and consideration goes a long way in terms of advancing relationships and distinguishing ourselves from fierce global business competition which is the rule today.